As a designer I enjoy sketching various concepts for timepieces that I would love to develop. Certainly I will always be grateful to renowned Jet engineer Frank Heydrich for helping me to produce my Polaris. It really made me appreciate how difficult and expensive it is for brands to develop prototypes. Sure there are many Chinese companies that will supply generic style watches with a company logo. However, if you want to do something more experimental and interesting it becomes a lot more challenging. For example, I am presently working with an Adelaide watchmaker to create a very unique timepiece. So far this project has taken well over a year because none of the components are standard. If I had commissioned a Swiss manufacturer to make one sample the cost would have been astronomical.
A few months ago I discovered a phenomenal new limited edition (101 pieces) watch by an Italian company called 15.48. The timepiece is constructed from forged carbon and has a vertical sapphire prism displaying jumping hours/minutes. This distinctive characteristic was fabricated by a telescope manufacturer rather than a watchmaker. It is special details like this that really separate this watch from other models in its class. In fact, when I first saw images of this piece I imagined it would be in the same price bracket as Avant-Garde brands like MB & F, Urwerk, De Bethune etc. Amazingly this striking timepiece is a fraction of the cost and retails at €8,200 (approximately $8,919). The brand has accomplished this by producing most of the parts in Italy and selling direct.
My first impressions of the timepiece when it arrived was the meticulous attention to detail and general quality. Dimensionally the watch is well proportioned (47mm x 42mm x 14mm) and exceptionally comfortable to wear. Another trendy feature is that the cover can be easily removed (by using an exhaust shape screwdriver tool attached to the rear of the presentation case) and customised to the owners exact specifications. For example, I have seen versions with different coloured leather, camouflage patterned fabric and even precious metals like gold. These selections are very interesting but in my opinion the texture of forged carbon has the most impact.
Beneath the forged carbon façade is a modified Swiss movement and bespoke 20-part display module created by Italian watchmaker Giuseppe Lama. Functionally the timepiece features jumping hours, minutes, rotating seconds and a power reserve indication. The watch also has a high quality black leather strap with an exceptionally cool forged carbon car shape buckle.